Salisbury Local Developments

Salisbury Beach condo project among Harrington’s priorities

By Jim Sullivan jsullivan@newburyportnews.com

 Jan 11, 2019 Updated Jan 11, 2019

 

SALISBURY — An agreement on the One Oceanfront condominium complex and the final plans for a visitor center at the beach are among the many projects the town manager would like to see progress this year.

Town Manager Neil Harrington said he is seeking a resolution between the town and the developer of the proposed $130 million One Oceanfront complex on Salisbury Beach.

Big Block Development Group has plans to build 240 condominiums where Salisbury Beach meets Broadway, but the developer wasn’t happy with the 44 conditions the Planning Board handed down along with its approval of the project last spring. 

The developer filed an appeal of the conditions, and Harrington said finding a resolution to the disagreement is “one of my major goals for this year.”

“We have been negotiating for the past three months to try to find a resolution to their issues,” he said. “But it is still a work in progress. Hopefully, that will get resolved in 2019 with an end result that we will reach a compromise and the project can go ahead in some capacity. That is very important for the town, to get further economic development at the beach.”

Another of Harrington’s goals this year is “to come to a conclusion” on how the town will go about building a visitor center on Salisbury Beach.

A total of $1.4 million in state funding was earmarked for the proposed center — also know as a comfort station — about five years ago and the town has been working on the design ever since, as well as finding an appropriate location.

“Until we know what the final cost is, I’m not sure whether or not any town money will be involved, but that is a major goal,” Harrington said. “The public has been asking us for public restrooms at the beach for many years. We’re just taking it one step at a time, trying to get to that point. It won’t be constructed by the end of 2019 most likely, but we want to finalize the plans and at least begin the process. We are still working on the design right now and there are a lot of things to do before that.”

Harrington said he believes the sale of the former Plains School property will be finalized in 2019 and hopes to complete the merger of the Rings Island Water District with the town’s operations, while also planning for replacement of the Bridge Road water main.

“The work will not be done probably for another year or two,” he said. “But we will need to begin planning during 2019.”

Harrington said he also expects to see the conclusion of the space needs analysis of Town Hall, which is now underway.

“We need to determine whether or not we have enough space in Town Hall to perform all the functions you need to keep town government running smoothly,” the town manager said. “Or we may need to look at relocating our facility to something like perhaps the former Memorial School. Or we could expand or renovate the current building. We are looking at that right now and that study will be done in 2019.”

Parking improvements and infrastructure improvements at Salisbury Beach are also on Harrington’s “to do” list in 2019. He said the town may also need to entertain the idea of implementing a tax on short-term rentals.

“The state just passed what is called the Airbnb law, which will definitely affect the town,” he said. “There are currently lots of Airbnb rental properties in town and some communities have bylaws as to where you can rent your property, others don’t. But we now have the option to tax it.”

The state imposed a 5.7 percent tax and communities have the option of imposing their own local tax of up to 6 percent.

Harrington said he also wants to make sure the opening of the Alternative Therapies Group recreational marijuana shop on Route 110 goes as smoothly as possible.

“There is also one other retail marijuana license the selectmen will have to consider granting at some point,” Harrington said.

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